Can A Bad Wax Ring Cause Flushing Problems? [DIY Discussions]

Yes, there is a good chance a bad or failing wax ring can cause flushing problems in a toilet. The wax ring serves as a critical seal between the base of the toilet and the flange on the bathroom floor.

Its primary function is to create an airtight and watertight seal to prevent sewer gases from entering your home and to ensure that wastewater is directed into the sewer line.

It is easy for a toilet wax ring to break down because it is soft and flexible. The toilet water leaks from the floor base due to a broken wax ring.

It is important to ask, however, if the faulty wax ring is the main culprit or not when there is malfunctioning in the flushing system?

Rings made of wax act as insulators and can help reduce exposure to human waste and potential diseases.

There’s not much connection between the wax ring and the flushing mechanism of the toilet, yet broken wax rings are impossible to replace. It is imperative that you replace the bad wax ring as soon as possible.

For a complete guide on this topic, check out our article below. Discover how the wax ring functions and what causes it to fail.

What Causes A Toilet To Not Flush When There Is A Bad Wax Ring?

A bad wax ring itself may not directly cause a toilet to not flush, as the wax ring primarily serves as a seal between the base of the toilet and the floor flange, preventing leaks and sewer gas from escaping.

However, a bad wax ring can indirectly contribute to flushing problems if it leads to other issues in your toilet’s installation or stability. Here’s how this can happen:

1. Uneven Toilet Base

Uneven Toilet Base

When a wax ring deteriorates, it can cause the toilet to become uneven or unstable. If the toilet is not sitting firmly on the floor, it may not allow the flush valve (located inside the tank) to operate correctly.

An uneven toilet can disrupt the flushing mechanism, resulting in poor or incomplete flushes.

2. Water Leaks

Water Leaks

As mentioned earlier, a bad wax ring can lead to water leaks around the base of the toilet.

If these leaks affect the floor or subfloor, they can compromise the structural integrity of the bathroom, potentially causing the floor to weaken or rot. In severe cases, this damage can affect the toilet’s stability and its ability to flush properly.

3. Repairs and Reinstallation

Repairs and Reinstallation

When you need to replace a bad wax ring, you typically need to remove the toilet from its mounting bolts and disconnect the water supply.

Improper reinstallation after replacing the wax ring can lead to issues like misalignment or loose connections, which may affect the toilet’s flushing performance.

In summary, while a bad wax ring may not directly cause flushing problems, it can indirectly contribute to them by destabilizing the toilet or causing other installation-related issues.

It’s important to address a deteriorating wax ring promptly to prevent these secondary problems and maintain your toilet’s proper functioning.

Wax Ring, Toilets and Common Problems

Wax Ring, Toilets and Common Problems

If you are to resolve this issue, you should have a thorough understanding of how the wax ring works and how it functions. You will also learn what factors contribute to wax ring failure from the discussion below.

There is a wax ring found between the toilet and the closet flange on the floor. It serves as a seal between the toilet and the closet.

As the name suggests, it consists of a ring of molded wax on top of a short plastic pipe. This flange is then installed over the toilet.

In the toilet, wax rings come in many types. A wax ring can be classified into two types. Wax rings come with sleeves and without sleeves. One has a sleeve, the other does not.

With the sleeve, there is a wax ring, which is more durable and ensures stability. Seals such as this are best for flanges that sit 1/4-inch below or 1/4-inch above the floor.

Additionally, there is a wax-free version, which most plumbers prefer. Rubber rings last longer than wax rings because they are made of rubber.

How Does A Wax Ring Work

Your toilet installation will not be complete without a wax ring. Plumbing, the wax rings serve as a barrier to water splashing on the floor, as well as providing a complete odor-proof seal that prevents sewer gas from entering the house.

Acts As An Odor Proof Seal

A wax ring’s main function is to provide an odor-proof seal. In every toilet, there is an internal trap used to collect water. In addition, it prevents sewer gas from entering the house.

To prevent sewer gas from escaping, wax is sealed between the toilet and sewer pipe. By doing so, you will be able to keep your bathroom fresh by getting rid of all the bad odors.

Prevent Water Leak

To secure the toilet on the floor, the wax ring is used. Water is prevented from leaking from the bottom of the WC by the wax ring, which seals the sewer pipe and the WC’s bottom. 

In spite of the fact that it prevents toilet water splashing onto the floor, it does not prove to be a complete leak proofing system.

Why Do Toilet Wax Rings Fail?

Among the hard components of a toilet system are some soft, flexible wax rings. Toilet wax rings can fail for a variety of reasons.

Having an understanding of what commonly causes failed wax rings is crucial to preventing them. Here are some examples:

Loose Toilets

Loose toilets are most often responsible for wax ring failure. As a result of improper installation, toilets can sway during use, dislodging their wax rings.

Similarly, when the toilet is installed loosely, the wax rings become loose or broken. The wax ring’s function is dependent on the seal, so a broken seal will result in failure. It can be resolved by reinstalling the toilet.

Sewage Backup

When the main sewer line backs up, the wax rings in the toilet may fail. Sewage water accumulates in sewer lines and starts flowing backward when they back up.

It pushes on the toilet wax ring and puts enough pressure on the pipe to destroy the seal. Replace the wax ring of the toilet only after you have resolved the sewage backup issue. Make sure the job is handled by a professional plumber.

The Distance Between the Flange and Toilet

The failure of the toilet ring is also attributed to this factor. A large distance exists between the toilet flange and the closet flange in this case. Wax rings cannot seal the gap because of the huge range.

Using Low-Quality Wax Ring

Low-quality wax rings will be ineffective for a longer period of time if you install them on your toilet. It is only high-quality wax rings that will remain functional for approximately 20 to 30 years.

How To Know If Toilet Wax Ring Is Bad [3 Major Signs To Know]

There are several reasons why the wax ring of the toilet may occasionally fail, even though it is soft and malleable, formed from sticky wax. It is then necessary to replace the wax ring in order to prevent serious damage to the toilet.

However, to spot a failed wax ring, you need quick symptoms, and you need to replace it. You can now recognize a bad wax ring by the following signs:

Toilet Smells Like Sewer

It is possible that there is a faulty wax ring in your bathroom if you experience a bad odor. Furthermore, it is a watertight seal. Additionally, the wax ring serves as an airtight seal that prevents sewer gas from entering.

However, the broken ring will cause sewer gases to leak from the drainpipe, which will create a horrific situation in the bathroom. It is harmful for humans to breathe sewer gases because they contain germs and septic materials.

Ceiling Or Floor Damage

Water won’t seep from the base when the wax ring goes bad. There would be severe damage to the ceiling or floor around the toilet if this were to occur.

It is important to check underneath your bathroom for signs of damage in order to prevent this.

If wastewater has been released into the ceiling, the drywall and flooring should also be checked for mold. In this case, simply replacing the wax ring will not suffice. A professional contractor needs to replace damaged subflooring.

Leaking Water From The Basement

In most cases, water will collect around the base of the toilet. The wax ring is the likely cause of the toilet leaking.

A septic tank is penetrated by water after it has been flushed with human waste. The mounting bolts became loose as a result of a broken wax ring, causing the basement ceiling to leak.

How To Determine If The Wax Ring Size Is Right For Toilet?

To choose the right wax ring for your toilet, there are several factors to consider. Examples include:

Toilet Bottom Width Measurement

To determine what size wax ring to use for your toilet, you must know how wide its bottom is. You can do this by turning your toilet bowl on its side.

Take a measurement of the bottom opening. Based on the width measurement, purchase the wax ring.

Check The Toilet Flange’s Thickness

A toilet flange’s thickness is another factor that needs to be checked. For a flange that is level with the floor, you’ll need a regular-thickness wax ring. The size will range from 3/4 inch to 1 inch thick.

However, if the flange is located beneath the floor, you have to select a double-thickness wax ring. There is about an inch difference between a regular and a double-thick wax ring.

How To Replace A Toilet Wax Ring [Easy Steps Guide]

A good guide is quite necessary whenever you are replacing the bad toilet wax ring. You will learn how to replace your toilet wax ring by following the step-by-step instructions below.

  1. The first thing you need to do is drain the toilet. To drain excess water from the tank, turn off the water supply and flush the toilet.
  2. Disconnect the water supply line from the bottom of the tank. The line will contain a little water. To catch it, you’ll need a bucket.
  3. Let’s remove the toilet now. Make sure the bolt caps are removed first
  4. Next, remove the bolts and washers at the base of the toilet using an adjustable wrench.
  5. By now, you should be able to see that the broken wax ring is wrapped around the circular flange.
  6. The old wax ring should be scraped away with a putty knife. Before installing the new wax ring, clean and dry the flange completely.
  7. Make sure it’s not cracked or broken. Replace the flange on the toilet if necessary.
  8. The new wax ring should be installed now. You will find instructions on your packaging on how to fit the wax ring. Lift the toilet again after installing the new wax ring.
  9. You can complete this process by shifting your weight several times while you sit on the toilet. Ensure that your toilet is flushed against the floor. When you sit on the toilet, it should not wobble.
  10. The last step is to replace the mounting bolts and bolt covers and reconnect the water supply line at the bottom of the tank.
  11. Make sure the water supply is turned on before flushing the toilet. Congratulations! Your toilet wax ring has been successfully removed.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Toilet Wax Ring?

Surely you are wondering how much the replacement wax ring will cost now that your wax ring has failed. It will be easier for you to understand this fact if you read this section.

Changing the wax ring on a toilet does not require a lot of time. According to the brand, replacing a bad wax ring is relatively inexpensive.

It starts at $5-$7 for a wax ring. Similarly, a quality wax ring with brass mounted bolts and a plastic flange will cost less than $15-$17.

A professional plumber will now need to handle the entire job. It will be necessary for him to disassemble the whole toilet in order to gain access to the wax ring and the base of the toilet.

Additionally, they will prepare and protect the area, set up, and clean up after the project is completed. According to your local geography, job size, conditions, and finish options, they will charge between $160 and $220.

How Long Does It Take To Replace A Toilet Wax Ring?

The task of replacing the toilet wax ring goes beyond removing the old ring and installing the new one.

During this process, you should be concerned with the toilet flange and the mounting bolts, and you may need to replace other parts as well.

In total, installing a toilet wax ring will take a plumber approximately two to three hours.

How Long Does A Toilet Wax Ring Last?

Toilet wax rings are technically capable of lasting up to 30 years. However, the lifespan of a toilet will be determined by the brand, the quality of parts, and how well you maintain it.

Based on manufacturer recommendations, it will last 20 years if maintained properly. It is important to replace the wax ring after this period of time because the wax ring’s effectiveness will decrease.

When the toilet is worn and torn over a long period of time, some major problems will appear, including leaks at the toilet base, bad odors, and floor damage around the toilet.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is a wax ring better than a rubber?

Beeswax or petroleum wax rings are usually found in toilets. The wax-free ring provides a mess-free installation and is far easier to install than wax rings.

2. What can I use instead of a wax ring for the toilet?

You can use sponge-type gaskets or gasket flexible wax less seals from various brands if you are looking for an alternative to the wax ring.

Wrapping Words

That’s all we’ve got! I hope this has answered your question about whether there could be problems with the flushing because of a bad wax ring. With our guide, you can replace a broken wax ring if you are experiencing any toilet problems.

We will be happy to assist you if you encounter any difficulties while replacing your wax ring. Feel free to contact us at any time!!!

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